By Adrian Cruce
Just like all parts of search engine optimization, local SEO keeps evolving. This is especially the case right now because the evolution of smart gadgets has allowed us to easily access the internet through various mobile devices.
Unfortunately, because of the huge rate of growth for technology we’re seeing right now, most SEO specialists are not up-to-date with all you can do for local search engine rankings. They are just using common strategies, like getting listings in Google My Business or similar directories. If this is all that you’re doing, your rankings will not be as high as they could be.
Do you want to rank higher in local searches? If so, start using these advanced local SEO strategies.
1. Focus on visibility, not on rankings
- 1 1. Focus on visibility, not on rankings
- 2 2. Use local SEO keyword research
- 3 3. Analyze your competition
- 4 4. Carefully optimize all your citations
- 5 5. Improve your local on-page optimization
- 6 Optimize the homepage first
- 7 Optimize local landing pages
- 8 Use schema markup
- 9 Get results from advanced local SEO strategies
- 10 About the Author
It is normal to want to rank higher in local searches, but if this is your only goal, you will have trouble getting to the top. Also, it is not just the top ranks and listings that get a lot of traffic, and this is what makes local SEO so unique.
When I say focus on visibility, I mean dominating and controlling search real estate. A high ranking is not enough if your competition ranks with a visually led strategy. Good local SEO does not focus just on getting links and citations as regular search engine optimization does; it also includes a visual aspect that is usually missed by business owners.
As a very simple example, if your business ranks high in Google My Business, but it is not visually attractive, competitors listed after you might get more traffic simply because they appear more attractive. Remember that most local searches are done on smaller screens, so images and videos become even more important than with regular desktop searches.
2. Use local SEO keyword research
In SEO, you know you need keyword research. But few people know that local SEO keyword research is different than regular keyword research. Typically, the process is more straightforward, even if it is much easier to get it wrong.
The good news is the competition is smaller for local keywords. This is why you need to choose the right ones, as they will bring you better results in a shorter time frame.
Start by brainstorming your seed keywords. The formula for this is very simple: “[Your service] in [location].” For example:
- Fitness gym in New York
- Bike shop in Melbourne
- Hotel in Brooklyn
- Grocery store in San Francisco
Combine all services and products with all the locations you own or service. This gives you a comprehensive list of local seed keywords to use.
Do not bother with using exact matches because Google is very good at identifying location-related indicators. As an example, a person in Brooklyn might only type “hotel” and he/she will get a list of hotels close to the physical location from where the search was conducted.
3. Analyze your competition
In any type of marketing effort, competition analysis is vital for campaign success. The same can be said about local SEO. Identify your competitors and enter them into research tools like SpyFu, Ahrefs, or SEMRush. You will then see the ranks of the competition for different local keywords. These are all potential keywords you can target.
You can also analyze the local competitors’ backlink profiles. This helps you find media outlets, blogs, and local resources from where you might be able to get valuable backlinks.
4. Carefully optimize all your citations
Most people understand that local citations are very important local ranking signals. Local citations are mentions of your business/company in an online setting. This includes mentions on industry-specific websites, business directories, blogs, or relevant local websites. However, what they do not often realize is how easy it is to get them wrong. For higher local rankings, getting citations isn’t enough. They also have to be consistent.
The big problem is you often get citations without even being aware of them. If they are not consistent, your rankings will be lower than they could be. For instance, there might be some minor differences in the recorded address, which is a pivotal part of the NAP (name, address, and phone number) that’s included in a citation.
Whenever you locate an incorrect citation, do your best to fix it. This is often as easy as sending an email and letting the webmaster know of the error. And when you create additional citations, use the same consistent NAP.
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5. Improve your local on-page optimization
After you have finished your local keyword research, it is time to optimize the content on your website. Fortunately, this mainly means that you use the exact same optimization practices you employ with all ranking strategies. However, some extra advanced local SEO strategies can help you:
Optimize the homepage first
Contrary to what many people might think, you should not optimize the homepage for the local keywords. You should focus instead on those keywords that are applicable to the entire customer base. Use those keywords with the highest opportunity.
If your business depends on location, like with a hotel, add a homepage tool that allows visitors to search based on location. Everything else can be the same as with regular SEO. Next, move on to local landing pages.
Optimize local landing pages
You should create a different landing page for every single location you have, and every single one of these pages should have its own local keywords. The NAP data should be added to the content.
Also, for every landing page, create geo-targeted content. Do this by identifying traits which make the location unique. Include success stories written by local customers and highlight any positive reviews. You can also add specific parking and transit instructions, together with other relevant location-specific details.
A key to remember is that every single local landing page needs to be as useful and as unique as possible.
Use schema markup
Schema markup is getting more and more important in local SEO. This is a structured data form that’s added to the website. Its purpose is to help search engines display extra informative results.
For physical locations, different location markup types can be used to quickly display location details, hours, and more. Check out the Structured Data Markup Helper from Google to find indications on how to do it right. Just make sure your NAP is consistent.
Get results from advanced local SEO strategies
Local SEO keeps evolving. It becomes more complex every single month and new strategies are being created even as you read these words. These advanced local SEO strategies will help you get higher in local rankings, but you need to always keep an eye on the industry and see what the specialists are saying. Check out the latest case studies and frequently adapt your local SEO strategy for the best possible results.
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